By Kanupriya Kapoor
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Indonesia’s defense minister proposed a peace plan for the war in Ukraine on Saturday, calling for a demilitarized zone and a United Nations referendum in what he called disputed territory.
Prabowo Subianto has called on defense and military officials from around the world gathered at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense meeting in Singapore to issue a statement calling for a cessation of hostilities.
He proposed a multi-point plan including a ceasefire “in place at the current positions of both warring parties” and establishing a demilitarized zone by withdrawing 15 kilometers (nearly 10 miles) from the forward position of each part.
The demilitarized zone should be observed and monitored by a UN-deployed peacekeeping force, he said, adding that a UN referendum should be held “to objectively verify the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of the various contested areas”.
“I propose that the Shangri-La dialogue find a mode of…voluntary statement urging Ukraine and Russia to begin peace negotiations immediately,” Prabowo said.
Indonesia’s proposal follows President Joko Widodo’s year-long visit to Moscow and Kyiv, where he offered to mediate between their leaders and revive peace talks. He was also chairman of the G20 group of major economies at the time.
Speaking on the same panel, Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission of the European Union, noted that if military support for Ukraine stopped, the war would quickly end – but the sovereignty of this country would fall in the face of external aggression.
“We can’t stop supporting Ukraine militarily because we don’t want the peace which is… the peace of surrender. The peace of the strongest,” Borrell said.
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy has proposed a 10-point peace plan, which calls on Russia to withdraw all its troops from Ukraine. Chief diplomatic adviser Ihor Zhovkva said Ukraine has no interest in a ceasefire that locks in Russian territorial gains.
(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Gerry Doyle)